The Impossible First: Colin O'Brady's Expedition Across Antarctica


In December 2019, Colin O'Brady achieved yet another world record, becoming the first to row across The Drake Passage – one of the most notorious stretches of water, known for the iciest waters in the world, freezing temperatures, and high winds. In just a few weeks, he along with five other athletes completed the journey from South America to Antartica, sharing the journey live.

On January 14, 2020, O'Brady released a new book entitled, The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice―Crossing Antarctica Alone.

The honest yet thrilling memoir spans his triumphant recovery from a tragic accident to his record-setting solo crossing of Antarctica.  Detailing his treacherous journey across the landmass of Antarctica, O'Brady takes audiences behind-the-scenes of his rigorous training to prepare for this mission, as well as the dangerous 930-mile trek, showing what it took in order to achieve his history-making expedition across Antarctica.

Garnering a ton of press for his latest record-setting expedition, previous history-making voyages, and new book release, O’Brady’s seemingly impossible expeditions continue to prove that anything is possible with the right mindset.


Two weeks before training for the mission, O'Brady announced his plans of attempting to being the first to row across Drake Passage on The Tonight Show. Despite never rowing a boat before, he explained his theory of applying an 'impossible mindset' to something extremely challenging, in order to achieve a seemingly impractical goal.



Since the beginning of his journey, Colin has been extremely transparent about the countless work that went into the preparation. In an interview on The Today Show, Colin explained the training that was necessary to pursue an adventure of this magnitude, as well as the motivation that fueled his perseverance.

"I'm doing this to inspire other people to take on the impossible in their lives.", O'Brady said as he described the reasoning behind his determination and bravery.



As anyone can imagine, the state of Colin's mental health was just as important as his physical health. In this exclusive feature, Colin gave PBS News Hour an insider's look into his mental agility and his day-to-day experience exercising the mindset he self-instilled, months prior to his first-ever solo Arctic trek.

Regardless of the innumerable hours of physical preparation, O'Brady gives major credit to his mental balance. From his avid meditation practices to his annual 10-day silent meditation retreat, Colin used his mental strategies to combat the negative self-doubting thoughts that plagued his mind during his long period of isolation and constant labor.

Despite facing 50 MPH winds and -30 degree weather, he tackled each challenge with a positive attitude.

"You are locked in a prison of your own brain," O'Brady said. "Fortunately, I like my own company." 



Want proof of this history-making ordeal? Discovery Channel followed O'Brady's dangerous feat, through a 14-part series entitled "The Impossible Row". They filmed O'Brady's adventure through training, as well as the actual 3-week journey.

Check out O'Brady's last episode, upon success of the mission!



  • What’s Your Everest?: Goal Setting and Overcoming Obstacles | Striving to reach the next level? What is it that holds you or your team back? What’s your Mt. Everest and what stands in the way of you achieving it? What is the motivation you need to perform at the highest level? These are the questions that many of us struggle with at work and in our personal lives. Colin will bring you and your team on his harrowing journey from being told he might never walk normally again to climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents and becoming the world’s first person to cross Antarctica solo, unsupported, and unaided. Prepare for your audience to be inspired, amazed, and energized as they are empowered to discover and define what their personal Everest is—and receive the tools they need to conquer it.
  • Be Possible: Change Your Mindset, Achieve Anything | There is a quote Colin continually shares: “He who says he can, and he who says he can’t are both usually right.” Building high-functioning teams and high-performing leaders always begins with mindset. Colin has been on adventures that have taken him around the world to some of the harshest and most remote environments on the planet. At every step, Colin was confronted with hardships, both internal and external. It was in the face of that adversity that he found that the impossible was possible. This keynote isn’t about the achievements of Colin, but instead about showing how ordinary people have the capacity to do extraordinary things. Find out what it takes to be a leader, to overcome self-doubt and closed-mindedness to reach peak performance, and how anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
  • Stronger Together: Harnessing Leadership & Collaboration | Colin O’Brady’s whole life has led him to world record success, but unlike his solo journey across Antarctica at the end of 2018, he hasn’t been alone. Whether he was walking across the unpredictable frozen tundra of Antarctica or taking his first step to walk after a tragic accident, he has always had a team supporting his efforts. Colin knows that in order to succeed, you need a high-performing team that understands how to work together and seamlessly conquer the challenges that are sure to arise along the way. In this talk, you will learn how to build effective teams and strengthen the ones that already exist. Colin dives deeper into success principles by illuminating the benefits of teamwork, team building, leadership, and risk management to ultimately achieve success, whether you’re at the top of the world on the summit of Mt. Everest, at the bottom of the globe in Antarctica, or anywhere in between.

Colin O'Brady's journey is not only one of perseverance, but it's also an inspiring example of the extraordinary benefits that changing your mindset can have on the ability achievement. He now uses his lessons learned from the challenges of his voyage, to motivate audiences to reach their peak performance.


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